Senate HELP Committee Hearing on the COVID-19 Response

On Tuesday, July 20, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing to receive an update from federal health officials on efforts the Biden Administration is undertaking to combat the coronavirus pandemic, progress that has been made, and challenges the U.S. and the world are facing.

Members asked about sequencing to detect the presence of variants; vaccine efficacy; booster shots; breakthrough infections; Strategic National Stockpile; gain of function research; disinformation on technology platforms; substance use disorder and overdose deaths; mental health; CDC’s mask guidance for schools; Provider Relief Fund; vaccine outreach; and vaccine confidence, among other things.

Federal health officials urged Americans to get vaccinated; touted the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly against the Delta variant; noted that when they see studies showing that vaccine efficacy is waning, they will make the decision that booster shots are necessary; warned that the mental health effects of this pandemic will linger for a long time and must be addressed; spoke about the need to use culturally appropriate messaging in all of our vaccination efforts; indicated that disinformation on technology platforms has negatively impacted the response to the pandemic; and stated that it’s critically important for schools to be open for full, in-person learning this fall.

Download summary memo.